The FTSE 100 shrugged off poor Chinese economic data and tumbling UK house prices to move higher in early trading.
Those UK house values dropped at their fastest monthly rate since 2008 in November, according to the latest Halifax survey. Prices fell by an average 2.3% with potential buyers spooked by rising mortgage rates and the cost of living crisis, said the building society.
In contrast, shares in Harvester owner Mitchells & Butlers rose by around 10% after an surprisingly upbeat annual results statement. The pub chain bounced back into profit and said sales this year so far are up more than 9%.
GSK was another big riser after thousands of possible claims against heartburn drug Zantac were ruled out by a US Federal judge.
Elswhere in the US, BlackRock boss Larry Fink is facing calls to resign over the firm’s alleged failure to meet its own ESG commitments. Activist Bluebell Capital has accused it of failing to divest away from fossil fuels.
And among the small caps, some fresh drilling news put a spark into the shares of vanadium miner Ferro-Alloy, while shares in AfriTin also rose following a positive update on its flagship Uis mine in Namibia.
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